Duke tops #19 Virginia in ACC series opener, 6-3

uva baseballDuke (11-2, 1-0 ACC) scored the game’s final three runs to take game one of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series, 6-3 against No. 19 Virginia (9-5, 0-1 ACC) at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

A two-run home run by Jimmy Herron in the bottom of the fifth inning broke a 3-3 tie and was all the Blue Devils needed to extend their win streak to 10 games. Duke added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning and Ethan DeCaster closed the door on the Virginia offense by tossing 3.1 scoreless innings of relief to earn his third save of 2018.

DeCaster retired the first seven batters he faced including stranding a pair of inherited runners in the top of the sixth inning. He allowed just one hit and faced 12 batters in his sixth appearance of the year. He has yet to yield a run in 12 innings pitched this season.

Virginia rallied to tie the game at three in the third inning. Freshman Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) got the Cavaliers on the board by drawing a bases loaded walk that scored Alex Tappen (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.). Ground balls by Justin Novak (Tokyo, Japan) and Andy Weber (Aurora, Ohio) scored two runs and leveled the contest.

Tappen and Nate Eikhoff (Bristow, Va.) were responsible for the four Virgina hits, a season-low. Tappen put together his second multi-hit performance in as many games, finishing 2-for-4 with a run scored. Eikhoff extended his hitting streak to nine games and has now reached safely in all 14 games this year.

Virginia starting pitcher Derek Casey (Mechanicsville, Va.) pitched better than his line indicated. He threw 109 pitches in a career-high 7.2 innings pitched. The ACC’s strikeout leader coming into the weekend, fanned 10 batters and didn’t issue a walk. He has struck out 10 or more batters in three-consecutive starts.

Due to inclement weather forecasted for Sunday (March 11), the two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday (March 10). The Cavaliers will have lefthander Daniel Lynch on the mound in game one and Evan Sperling in game two.


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